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BaxterBoo Blog
August 18, 2013

Meet the Breed: The Skye Terrier

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  • Height: 10”
  • Weight: 25-40 pounds
  • Historical function: Vermin hunter
  • Modern function: Companion
  • AKC classification: Terrier

Physical Characteristics:

The Skye Terrier is about twice as long as it is tall which makes it long and low to the ground like a Corgi, only more pronounced. The head is rather large in proportion to the body. The muzzle is long bearded. The ears are usually pricked and feathered and blend into the profuse double coat. There are rare drop-eared versions. The coat parts down the middle from the nose to the tail and is a curtain to the ground. The eyes are brown and often obscured by the long topknot. The tail is also long, straight and feathered. The undercoat is woolly and the topcoat is straight and harder. Coat colors may be black, fawn, blue, shades of grey. Black masks and dark ears may also occur. 

Various Sky Terriers including a drop-eared version

Note the rare drop-eared version on the right.

History of the Breed:

The Skye Terrier is one of the oldest terrier breeds and is thought to have originated on the Island of Skye in the Scottish Hebrides. A Spanish ship carrying Maltese dogs was shipwrecked there in the early 1600's. These Maltese were mated with local terriers resulting in the Skye Terrier. The breed was fancied by Queen Victoria in the 19th Century and thus became popular with the nobility. The Today the breed is at risk of extinction. The most famous Skye Terrier was "Greyfriar's Bobby" who guarded his master's grave for 14 years. A statue of the dogs likeness was placed in Edinburgh, honoring his loyalty.


The Skye Terrier is a loyal and clever dog that is suited for apartment living if given enough exercise. This is a bold and playful terrier that prefers to be with his people. With a hunting history, this dog likes to chase and should be supervised with smaller pets and cats. Socialize well.

  • Best suited for: Active families willing to let this dog participate in family activities. Care should be used with young children handling this dog as the long back leaves it susceptible to injury. 
  • Preferred living conditions: This dog prefers cooler climates. 

Care and Health:

  • Grooming requirements: Moderate shedding coat needs regular brushing to prevent mats. 
  • Exercise needs: Daily walk, but long walks should be avoided until 8-10 months of age. 
  • Life expectancy: 12-15 years.
  • Health concerns: May be prone to back injuries. Guard puppies against growth plate damage, not allowing jumping until 8-10 months. 

Breed Club Links: Skye Terrier Club of America. Perfect Pairings: Shop our selection of harnesses which will protect this long-bodies breed.

Have any stories about a Skye Terrier? Please share!

Photos courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

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This entry was posted by Mary.

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